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Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,027 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,027
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 934
Gots: 261 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Arctic Devil Barley Wine, aptly named after the ferocious wolverine of the north, is an English-style (meaning malt-inclined) barley wine. Though the recipe and process for Arctic Devil have evolved over the years, it is brewed once a year then aged in oak barrels for several months before the entire batch is blended, bottled and released.

In its youth, Arctic Devil gnarls and snarls its way across the palate. Containing this beast of a beer for long periods in oak barrels--some having previously aged port, wine or whiskey--tames the unleashed malt and fierce hop flavors, melding and mellowing this powerful liquid into an incredible elixir worthy of a brewer's table.

Each annual batch of Arctic Devil Barley Wine represents the brewers' resolve to create an intriguing and sought-after barley wine by precisely brewing to well-designed specifications, carefully selecting the type and combination of barrels to use for aging, and meticulously checking the beer as it ages. Distinct nuance and complexity are contributed by the wood's previous tenants, resulting in unique flavor profiles in each batch that continue to change over time. We invite you to savor Arctic Devil Barley Wine upon its release then cellar some for future enjoyment.

20 IBU

(Beer added by: Todd on 03-24-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,027 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CTJman
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of portia99
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2008 Vintage) received a long while back from alaskajoe in a great trade. Thanks! Poured into a Brooklyn snifter. Pulled this out so many times to share and never got to it. Couldn't wait any longer...cold night in front of the fire.

A - Bottle opens with a smallish muddy pop. A fairly aggressive pour into the middle of the glass yields an equally muddy body of nearly opaque brown color that is a step above the yeasty remains found at the bottom of a carboy of homebrew. A finger of cream colored, somewhat loose bubbled foam lingers briefly and falls to the surface.

S - Sweet smelling overall with definite notes of molasses and brown sugar. Whiskey is also quite up front in the aroma with some booziness and some nice hints of vanilla and caramel. As it warms the whiskey really starts to take hold and becomes more potent.

T - As expected from the aroma, whiskey takes a strong role in the flavors as well. I'm getting strong hits of whiskey up front backed solidly by some sweetness of varying types - lots of burnt, caramelized sugar - creme brulee'ish, some molasses too. There's also a touch of smokiness and dark roasted malt that pushes towards a coffee-like bitterness but doesn't quite get there. Not really getting much for hops but this ends up being rather well balanced and not nearly as much of a malt bomb as I expected. The whiskey really seems to offset the sugary aspects quite well.

M - Body is medium/full with a low level carbonation just strong enough to let you know its alive...like a low level pulse but lingers close to a lifeless state. Initially I get a tingle on the lips from each sip - but that quickly disappears and leaves behind largely just whiskey flavors and really not that much heat. Booziness is really well controlled here. Actually ends up being quite a smooth drinker through the entire bottle - rather surprised in a very positive way.

O - Obviously this beer has a decent amount of hype behind it (and plenty of good ratings with it), but I've also heard several rather negative experiences with this too. Came into this with high hopes but prepared to be disappointed. Although not the perfect barleywine for me, this trended towards meeting the hype. Really well balanced with sugars and alcohol in control without being disguised to the point that one could down this quickly with unexpected results. For me the highlight of this beer is the well placed and lingering creme brulee effect. I can almost imagine the crunch and crackle of the burnt sugar coating on top of the dessert...really, really nice effect. This absolutely makes this beer for me. The overall balance and complexity are just bonuses - quite like a dessert in a glass for me.

Photo of Amalak
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of CraigTravor
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of JDV
3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$18 for the '08 22-oz bottle. Pours a rich burgandy color with a short lived tan head. Smell is malty, molassesy, with lots of rich chewy, sweet and sticky dried fruits and nuts, along with a noticeable alcohol presence as well. Taste is similarly malty with a dark sweet fruity and nutty flavor. Somewhat prailine like. Really nice flavor aside from the somewhat strong alcohol presence which by the 2nd glass definitely detracts from the beer. Moderate body, to perhaps a bit sticky and syrupy but definitely not overly so. I really loved the unique nutty fruity malty flavor in this and would like it even more if the alcohol tamed down with age. Unique and really nice, but hard to justify the price I paid.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 10% ABV. Cloudy chestnut color. A thin tan head disappears almost immediately.

Dark fruit, caramel, figs, ripe fruits and pine in the aroma. A lot of complexity. Bourbon, and oak linger. Some vanilla and coconut. Very complex nose, quite enjoyable.

Lots of sweetness, caramel and figs galore. Comes close to being cloying. Bourbon and oak, along with vanilla round tings out. A fair amount of bitterness, but this is certainly malt driven. More dark fruits as it warms.

Medium body, with low carbonation. I wouold suspect that this will age wonderfully. Very nice.

Photo of djaeon
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark russet eggplant hue with a deflated thin cap to a collar.

Deep aroma of dark fruit cornicopia fig and plum followed with a brutal assault of dark grain waffle malt and burnt caramalized molasses.

First swigs: Molasses thick, I mean thick! black cherries, caramelized sugar, sticky pastry dough. Fruit figs and dates extreme with a balance of vanilla and almond. Complex hints of soy.

Feel is full bodied tongue coater, gentle restrained carbonation. Pancake mix dry. Sticky lips stick to the glass.

Last swigs: Unlike ANY barelywine. Almost rauch-like. Eating iceing fom the cake. Thanks AKSmokedPorter!

Beer is good. Happy big bold beering.

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of JRod1969
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of aerozeppl
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dmeadows for the share. We did the 2007 and 2008 side by side. The 07 was 10% while the 08 was slightly stronger. Looks like I wrote 1?.4

A: The 07 had more carbonation. The 2008 was a little bit darker. Both are a nice garnet color with some ruby color in there as well. Really a great looking english barleywine.

S: The 07 was so mellow and nice. The 98 is sweeter and a little boozier. More malt. The nose has a ton of malt. The barrel gives it that smooth nose. Just blended everything together.

T: More oak in the 08. More booze as well but still smooth. The thing I could not get over was how smooth the 07 was. Reminded me of a 1998 JW Lees. Just so well balanced. One of the best barleywines I have ever had. Excellent use of barrel aging.

M: Very smooth. Nice carbonation. Both vintages.

D: Amazingly drinkable. Just so smooth. I really loved this beer. Deserves to be in the top 100.

Photo of anteater
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of DerekMorgan
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of BAsbill
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of CrellMoset
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with gford217 - another phenomenally generous crack. Poured into a Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: Hazy, orange red brown - tons of colors, insane - with a great-looking tan head with a very fine, even bubble structure and great retention. Iridescent and oily looking under the light.

Aroma: Tons of alcohol, even more dark fruit and fruity esters - figs, raisins, very vinous and grape-like. There's also smoke and some salty notes, about halfway between cured ham and soy sauce, which become more pronounced as it warms.

Taste: The first thing you notice is how DARK this barleywine is. It's almost part-RIS, part barleywine. Roasted toffee, smoky butterscotch, and other dark, toasted malt notes intermingle with figs, raisins, lighter fruit notes and other sweeter, more traditional barleywine notes. Tons of alcohol, but it's smooth and warm. Crazy, and very interesting.

M: Chewy and thick, oily in places. Amazingly fine-bubbled and even. Very well done.

D: Pungent alcohol on this one, fairly high, but it's very interesting and unique - one of my new favorites of the style.

Photo of brotherloco
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. 2011 Vintage. 13.4% ABV.

Pours a deep translucent mahogany. A very small beige head quickly dissipates to a small ring.

Aroma brings on strong dry-bread malt with hints of vanilla and sherry. A touch of sulphur. Noticeable alcohol.

Flavor of the malt is much more toffee-like than the aroma. A lot of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging. Still getting a little of that sulphur. Tobacco notes. Sweet through the middle and then finishes with a dry alcohol note. The heat comes on after a few sips but flavor wise the alcohol is extremely well blended.

Medium-full bodied with a nice moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and very drinkable given the strength.

A great beer at this age and one that you can tell will get even better with age.

Photo of Resuin
4.76/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. No bottle date but I believe this is this year's version. ABV is listed as 13.4% on bottle. This is being served at just under 50 degrees, but will warm slightly as I drink it.

Appearance: Pours black with a half-finger tan head, which fades slowly to a layer atop the black beer.

Smell: Delicious, strong bourbon and vanilla definitely out first. Chocolate, slightly roasted malts, dark fruits. Really delicious aroma.

Taste: Bourbon out front again mixed with vanilla, chocolate, figs, malts, and finishes with some woody oak. Pretty sweet, really well balanced, and absolutely delicious. Alcohol is masked brilliantly. Phenomenal.

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation and a really creamy, thick body. Wonderful.

Overall: This is an all-around outstanding beer. The bourbon comes through in the perfect amount for me, and the other flavors, all of which are delicious, blend together for a fantastic profile. Some beers with a similar profile to this are overly sweet, but this one is just perfect.

Photo of n2185
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of KVNBGRY
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Drknight
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of bostonryan
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of WeisGuy
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

a - pours a deep deep brown with a garnet hue, modest cream colored head, retention around the edges, not much by way of lacing, quite cloudy

s - rum-soaked raisins and plums with a healthy dose of caramel, unexpected dose of bitter, piney hop aroma on the nose as well

t - big sweet caramel malt flavors up front, rum-soaked raisin and plum on the midpalate with more caramel, some light piney hop bitterness balances out the sweetness a little on the finish, alcohol fumes present on the finish as well with the lingering dark fruit component

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, well balanced on the finish, strong alcohol warming effect

d - definitely a sipper of a barleywine, but par for the style, alcohol and sweetness aren't as overwhelming as I expected

Overall, a very good English Barleywine. This isn't my favorite style - I lean more toward hoppier American Barleywines - but I found this quite enjoyable. I imagine this would age quite well, but it's drinking quite nicely right now.

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,027 ratings.